Special Issue "Policy mixes for resource efficiency – conceptual issues, design and assessment challenges"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 January 2016)
Since the 1950s the global consumption of natural resources has skyrocketed, both in magnitude and in the range of resources used. Closely coupled with emissions of greenhouse gases, land consumption, pollution of environmental media, and degradation of ecosystems, as well as with economic development, increasing resource use is a key issue to be addressed in order to keep the planet Earth in a safe and just operating space. This requires thinking about absolute reductions in resource use and associated environmental impacts, and, when put in the context of current re-focusing on economic growth at the European level, absolute decoupling, i.e., maintaining economic development while absolutely reducing resource use and associated environmental impacts.
Changing behavioural, institutional and organisational structures that lock-in unsustainable resource use is, thus, a formidable challenge as existing world views, social practices, infrastructures, as well as power structures, make initiating change difficult. Hence, policy mixes are needed that will target different drivers in a systematic way.
When designing policy mixes for decoupling, the effect of individual instruments on other drivers and on other instruments in a mix should be considered and potential negative effects be mitigated. This requires smart and time-dynamic policy packaging.
This Special Issue aims at investigating the following research questions: What is decoupling and how does it relate to resource efficiency and environmental policy? How can we develop and realize policy mixes for decoupling economic development from resource use and associated environmental impacts? And how can we do this in a systemic way, so that all relevant dimensions and linkages—including across economic and social issues, such as production, consumption, transport, growth and wellbeing—are taken into account?
In addressing these questions, the overarching goals of this Special Issue are: to address the challenges related to more sustainable resource-use, to contribute to the development of successful policy tools and practices for sustainable development and resource efficiency, (particularly through the exploration of socio-economic, scientific, and integrated aspects of sustainable development), and, finally, to inform policy debates and policy-making.
More specifically, this Special Issue aims to:
- Discuss and deepen scientific knowledge on the concept of policy mixes in the context of system analysis methods, including resource efficiency, circular economy, life cycle assessment, and absolute decoupling;
- Contribute further scientific knowledge on the relevance of shifting socio-political paradigms from growth to well-being, but also in terms of production and consumption patterns;
- Highlight (methodological) challenges and options for assessing cumulative effects of policy mixes vs. individual instruments in resource policy;
- Present and analyse practical applications of policy mixes that were designed to achieve (absolute) decoupling by highlighting challenges in the delivery phase and the governance mechanisms, and how to overcome them.
- Present and discuss findings of (ex-ante and ex-post) assessments of decoupling policy mixes in the light of environmental economics,
- Discuss the need, limitations and options for policy making and governance mechanisms to think in longer-term, time-sequencing integration of policy instruments and related policy objectives.
The Special Issue will draw on findings from the EU and other countries to offer lessons of international relevance for policy mixes for more sustainable resource-use, with findings of interest to policy makers in central and local government and NGOs, decision makers in business, academics, researchers, and scientists.About the scope of the special issues:
The special issue invites submissions covering the following topics:
- Conceptual foundations of policy mixes in the context of resource efficiency and sustainable development (e.g., what is distinctive of a policy mix and how to design effective policy packages?)
- Examples of successful applications of policy mixes on resource efficiency and decoupling: Exploration of practical implications and effects (e.g.: burden shifts, rebound effects), as well as new types of interactions occurring between the environmental, social and economic dimension.
- Conceptual foundations of absolute decoupling and paradigm shifts in the context of natural resource use and environmental management (e.g., in terms of shifting from growth to well-being as the dimension to decouple resource use and environmental impacts from)
- Methodological challenges and options for assessing policy mixes’ effects vs. those of individual instruments
- Qualitative, quantitative or combined ex-ante or ex-post assessments of decoupling policy mixes in relation to environmental, economic and/or social impacts (e.g., modelling results of econometric, economic, system dynamic and environmental model simulations; qualitative impact assessments; impacts on decoupling objectives, on the labour market; distributive impacts);
- Analyses of policy frameworks, limitations and potential changes needed to enable wider application of policy mix thinking.
Ideally, the DYNAMIX Special Issue will stick to the following timeline:
. Submission of abstracts (maximum 500 words): 30 September 2015. Please send your abstract to Francesca (Francesca.email@example.com) by email for internal selection of full paper invitations.
. Response to authors on abstracts: 18 October 2015
. Submission of invited articles (full drafts): 15 January 2016
We cordially invite to submit contributions within cited topic.
Manuscript Submission Information
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- Absolute decoupling
- Resource efficiency
- Policy mixes